The Denver Housing Authority says it is one of the first housing authorities in the nation to be participating in a complex, public-private partnership that will bring solar energy to 387 affordable housing buildings in the city.Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined the Denver Housing Authority this week in making what was described as a landmark public-private partnership announcement that will bring renewable energy to 387 affordable housing buildings throughout the city.
The ambitious Solar Power Purchase Agreement spearheaded by DHA and several renewable energy leaders, including Oak Leaf Energy Partners, Enfinity America Corp. and Denver-based Namasté Solar.
“The Denver Housing Authority continues to serve as an aggressive leader in revitalizing Denver’s inner-city communities,” Hancock said. “Developing smart, sustainable residential sites clearly makes (DHA) an outstanding example of the stewardship that makes us a leader in energy-conscious cities.”
The announcement of the 2.513 megawatt solar project was made at DHA’s Quigg Newton Homes, the site of the first of 668 individual solar installations.
Denver-based Namasté Solar is installing the sytems.
Once all of the photovoltaic arrays are installed by next April, the systems will collectively generate an average of 3.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is an annual reduction of 3,479 tons of carbon dioxide. that is the equivalent of planting 267,624 total trees.
“At DHA, we are constantly looking for better and smarter ways to run our business and carry out our mission,” said Ismael Guerrero, DHA’s Executive Director. “Entering into a Power Purchase Agreement with our partners at Oak Leaf and Enfinity makes good business sense. Through this innovative financing structure, DHA will be able to purchase long-term power, from renewable energy sources located on our housing units, with no upfront capital investment on our part. This is good for DHA, good for the environment, and good for the communities we serve.”
Oak Leaf Energy Partners served as the project’s developer, providing site planning, interconnection analysis, tax and financial structuring, and negotiating financing.
“This project was the most complicated and challenging of any of the 35 solar projects we have completed to date – but also, perhaps, the most compelling and beneficial,” said Oak Leaf’s John Hereford. “DHA is unique for a public agency in that they have a real appetite for innovation and are not afraid to try new concepts to advance their mission.”
Enfinity America, the project’s financier, owns and operates the photovoltaic arrays, selling the electricity it generates from the solar electric systems to DHA.
Under the contract, DHA will be able to purchase any system at year six, 10, or 15. Each solar electric system adds approximately $10,000 in value to a single-family residence, so a sale any time after three years demonstrates a smart, sustainable investment by DHA, the agency calculates.
“Enfinity is very pleased to have worked with all of its partners on this effort to bring a viable financing and asset ownership solution to this very important project with the Denver Housing Authority,” said Rafael Dobrzynski of Enfinity. ”To bring solar energy to over 650 affordable (units) adds a very exciting project to our traditionally more commercially focused portfolio. It took great commitment and coordination by everyone involved to move this project forward.”
Jones, of Namasté, said, “each partner brought a level of commitment, experience, and creativity to the process that was critical in enabling this project to become a reality.”